Body Positivity Tips for the Summer Months

Body Positivity Tips for the Summer Months

Summer is on its way and we know that the build up to summer, and summer itself can be a tricky time to maintain body positivity. It’s a time where clothes are smaller, swimwear is commonplace, parties and events are frequent and we can feel in the spotlight. It’s also time where the media and social media is encouraging people to lose weight and get bikini ready. If you have any issues with body image, this can all be triggering and cause stress and a renewed focus on food and weight. This could just make you feel uncomfortable, or in the worst-case scenario it could trigger an eating disorder.

Our eating disorder treatment centre works hard to support clients who are struggling with their body image, and their relationship with food and know that changing your mindset is possible. That’s why, we wanted to give you some tips on building up your confidence, your self-worth and working on that body positivity, so that by the time summer rolls around, you’ll be feeling great.

What is body image and why does it matter?

Body image is defined as a person’s perception of their physical body and their thoughts and feelings that a person has about their body. Unfortunately, over 70% of women say that their concerns about shape and weight interferes with their happiness. This starts very young, with almost half of children between 7-9 years old saying they want to be thinner and half of 9-10 year old girls dieting. Once the poor body image develops into dieting behaviours, issues can begin. 35% of “occasional dieters” progress into pathological dieting, (disordered eating) and as many as 25%, advance to full-blown eating disorders. So, we need to work on improving our body image and feeling positive about our bodies, as they are, to try to counter this.

How to support body positivity in yourself and others

  • Aim to unconditionally accept our body as it is and learn not to overvalue shape or size.
  • Speak out and don’t tolerate weight talk, guilt or diet talk (“I really shouldn’t eat that” “I’m being so bad, I really need to go on a diet”).
  • Look for alternative media.  It is out there you just need to look!
  • Adjust and reduce comparisons (particularly to media images).
  • Cut down on Weight and Shape Checking (mirrors, clothes, scales, touching…)
  • Build on your strengths, learn about who you are and what you are good at.
  • Evaluate your self-worth by other means (positive qualities, strengths, values, unique skills).
  • Create a list of all the things you will do when you are thin: then review the list and ask yourself what is stopping you from doing these things now?
  • Find a deep sense of value and worth that is more than skin: Find and focus on the things you like or appreciate about your body as it is. Best of all, it can be linked to the functions of your body or what it helps you with such as strength, health or speed…
  • Treat yourself with the same kindness and respect you show your best friend. Begin treating yourself at least as well as you are treating others in your life.
  • FAT IS NOT AN EMOTION… Sometimes disliking your body is about your body, but sometimes, negative body thoughts are a way of expressing discontent over other issues in your life. Learn to ask yourself if something else is going on.
  • Dress the part: If you’re putting off buying new clothes until you like your body better, don’t. It sends a powerful message to yourself that you are worth it, directly impacting your self-esteem.
  • Appreciation of diversity: Recognize that people naturally come in different shapes and sizes, and cherish your body’s uniqueness.
  • Remember that improvements to body image and self-esteem take time. Be gentle on yourself.

How to stay body positive in the summer

Summer can be particularly hard if you’re struggling with body image, but here are some tips which we hope will help.

  • Know that you’re not alone if you’re feeling a little uncomfortable about your body heading into summer, but that you are beautiful – just as you are, and your worth is not determined by how you look.  
  • When you look in the mirror or a photo, look at the body as a whole, not one thing that needs ‘fixing’.
  • Try to be kind to yourself when you’re shopping for summer clothes, or trying on clothes again from last year and challenge negative self-talk. Try and find something positive to say about yourself at these times.
  • Look for clothes that fit you, rather than trying to squeeze into something you may have been able to wear before and then feeling bad about it.
  • Appreciate your body as it is now and shop for clothes, or choose clothes from your wardrobe which make you feel good, feel confident and highlight the things you like about your body.
  • Don’t get caught up in trends that don’t work for your shape and remember you deserve to look good and feel good!
  • Say yes to social occasions, even if you’re struggling with body image, and try and enjoy them to the full. Being present and feeling happy, surrounded by friends who love you for who you are, even in a bathing suit, will remind you to love yourself too.

Know when to ask for help

If you are fearful about the summer and severely limiting your calorie intake, or exercising excessively, you may be developing an eating disorder. You should not be consumed or controlled by fear of gaining weight or be obsessed with being thin or looking a certain way. If you are, you may need help to stop this damaging and dangerous thinking and behaviour.

Eating disorder treatment is highly effective, especially at the early stages, before behaviours have been too ingrained. Please don’t be afraid to share the fact that you’re struggling and ask for help. You deserve to feel happy and love yourself and with help you can.

The expert team at our eating disorder treatment centre are highly trained and experienced at supporting people who are struggling with ED. We are kind, patient and understanding and have the tools and techniques to change your thoughts, feelings and behaviours around food and your body. Please contact us to find out how we can help.